sábado, 24 de outubro de 2009


The president of RI 1981-82 Stanley E. McCaffrey established the Commission of the New Horizons to propose a long course to Rotary and nominated Cliff Dochterman as his chairman. Dochterman is a creative thinker, very active and tireless, even nowadays. He had been one of the three co-chairmen of the 3-H Commission and would become the president of RI in 1992-93.
Immediately this commission inquired the Rotarians from all over the world about suggestions for the future and then analyzed each one of the 2900 (two thousand nine hundred) answers. One of them was from Dr John L. Sever, a past governor of the district of Potomac, Maryland, and impressed him greatly. Professionally Sever had presided the infectious diseases branch of the National Health Institutes in the United States and was a long-time member of the 3 H Commission. He proposed that Rotary should immunize all the children of the earth against preventable diseases through vaccination until the end of the century. His suggestion was adapted for approval as a Board of RI decision in February 1982 in terms of «immunizing all the children of the world against polio by the 100th anniversary of Rotary International in 2005».
The 3 H Commission pushed forward the polio 2005 Program with projects in Bolivia, Haiti, Morocco and Sierra Leone. It was Dr Carlos Canseco, from Monterrey, in México, who became president of RI in 1984, and the one who relit the flame in the fight plan. Canseco had been in the front line of the polio eradication efforts in his own country and was a friend of Sabin. No one better than such an experienced voice to be the strongest proponent of the mass immunization methods.
«If you simply provide money for a country to vaccinate its children in small groups throughout the year that is a total waste», said Canseco. «It’s like whistling to the wind». He argued with Sabin’s point of view that if the polio vaccine was to be administered to all the children of the country on the same day they would all become immune simultaneously. In those days there was still the belief that Sabin’s vaccine would give group immunity. If by any chance a child was lost... it would be fine!
Through the direction of president Canseco and the work of several friends who were true believers in the potentiality of the program, the WHO accepted Rotary as a partner Non Governmental Organization (NGO). Canseco announced officially to the Rotarian world the 2005 polio Program on the 23 February 1985, day of the 80th Rotary anniversary. Eight months later at the 40th anniversary of the United Nations, the RI General Secretary Herb Pigman announced this Rotary plan to the Heads of State who had gathered to render official the «drawing of a goal to the achievement of immunization levels against the avoidable diseases by vaccinating 80% of all the children in the world». The Rotary commitment electrified the global health community. Such a duty from a NGO was unfounded in its financial spectrum and in the potential program. Public health workers, allured by the greatness of the goals could only appeal to the knowhow and to the resources of one million Rotarians to help them overcome the obstacles in distributing the polio vaccine.
(To be continued in F)

Henrique Pinto
October 09 in World Polio Day
PHOTOS: Henrique Pinto and Carlos Canseco (we became friends in the first moment we talked a little bit), 2005; Clifford L. Dochterman, RI president 1992-93

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